The Foreign Office has voiced its concern that thousands of British citizens retiring to ‘paradise’ abroad, end up living alone in poverty and poor health due to inadequate preparation for their new life.
Bruce McIntyre, British Consul in Malaga, says of the situation, “Sadly now, in Malaga, we spend much of our time dealing with elderly British nationals who moved out here ten or fifteen years ago and now cannot manage alone. Sometimes a partner has died and the other is too old or infirm to go out and buy food; sometimes people have made bad property investments or have not budgeted their pensions sufficiently and are living in extreme poverty. British retirees need to realise that not many European countries have welfare provisions like the UK - there are often no old people’s homes, no district nursing, community care or meals on wheels. We provide help where we can but there are just a few steps you can take to ensure that it doesn’t come to this.”
Steve Jewitt-Fleet of the Foreign Office, says “It is astonishing how many fit and healthy retirees make no plans or provisions of any kind for their future health and wellbeing when they retire abroad. The majority of British nationals do not register with local authorities when they move and often the FCO often only hear about these people when they get into serious difficulties. We are not trying to warn people off retiring overseas – we just want to advise people make sensible precautions in order to enjoy their retirement abroad.”
The benefits of moving abroad are clear. The cost of living is usually, lower than the UK. The climate is more conducive to a healthy and far less stressful lifestyle.
Some Brits are finding life abroad difficult because they simply haven’t done their homework. They find themselves alienated in a foreign culture, the dream of a home in the sun has come with a whole host of unexpected complications that they are used to getting sorted instantly at home and the infrastructure is significantly different to what they are used to.
The Foreign Office has produced a guide called ‘Going To Live Abroad’ www.fco.gov.uk/travel
. For further information and help on planning your move, check out the government’s website: www.direct.gov.uk